On my screen porch…

Photo on 2-23-14 at 11.40 AM

Those of you who have known me for a while know how much I love my screen porch. When my husband and I were shown our house for the first time (it wasn’t our house then), we looked all through the place, loving the curved archways and picture molding. We decided to buy it that day. (the price was pretty amazing, too) A few weeks later we were back in town to meet a contractor to inspect the house, when we finally went out on the porch. It was huge! Built with brick as part of the house, with more arches and a tiled floor, we could not believe our luck. The wood and screens needed replacing, but Mac loves summer projects and he did the work himself.

Each spring, I come out and throw away the old plants, dust off the furniture, wipe down the tables and mop the floor. I fill my bird feeders hanging in the dogwood tree and in the mornings…sit. Sometimes we play board games out here. Sometimes we do homeschool out here. We’ve been known to eat lunch, nap and read (or even watch movies).

Last weekend after our second crazy ice storm of the winter, we had a week of 70 degree days. Sunny, warm…I needed my porch. So I spent a whole afternoon cleaning and dusting and pouring and wiping and now…sitting.

Just a moment ago I saw my first cardinal of the (almost) spring. His brilliant red feathers and beak were even more beautiful set against the bare branches and gray sky. Yea…I love my porch.

On walking away…

I read this article a few days ago, written by a man (a very intelligent man apparently – a PROFESSOR!) whose son had, by his account, an AWFUL time in kindergarten and first grade because of an undiagnosed disability. The story goes through so many weird twists that it’s hard not to imagine the whole scenario as the plot of a Lifetime Movie of the Week.

This father speaks of himself and his extremely intelligent (NEUROSCIENTIST) wife, their trusty psychologists and therapists and lawyers, up against the machinery of the school system. They bravely battle through until the Ever Benevolent Court gives them PERMISSION (Oh praise be to the Ever Benevolent Court) to move THEIR CHILD to a better school. And everyone’s happy.

And all I can think about through the entire article is WHY? WHY would any seemingly (I mean they have DEGREES!) intelligent couple send their PRECIOUS little boy into a place in which the only way that he can get through the day is by ROCKING in his chair?

“When we brought him to school, he would cringe away from the staff and refuse to say hello.”

Forget a disability, how about yanking your boy away from a place like that IMMEDIATELY? As in, never to return.

In the comments after the article, the father is very gracious to answer many of the questions that people pose to him about the situation. Only one person out of the bunch asks my question. Why not homeschool? The father’s reply? “To me, the solution is not pulling out, disengaging, and leaving everyone else to their fate, but instead speaking out and raising awareness of these issues.”

My duty, as a parent, is not to sacrifice my child’s needs on the altar of the public education system or the “greater good.” My job is to raise MY child. And to protect MY child.

I am not saying that every parent has the personality to homeschool, but there are a wide variety of options available to parents, especially affluent ones. I have no doubt that this man and his wife love their son very much, but the fact that REMOVING HIM FROM THE SITUATION was not seen as the most obvious answer to the question of what to do makes me sad for this little boy and the year of his life that was wasted on a battle that could have been won by walking away.

CST #254: Everything is Awesome

Listen here.

We LOVED The Lego Movie, endured some more winter storms, visited my folks, and stayed married!

Movies:

The Lego Movie

Blogs:

threestrawberries.wordpress.com

On spending money…

So it’s tax time. Time to sit down with those W-2s, scour through your piles of saved receipts, and look for ways to keep Uncle Sam’s hands off more of your hard earned money. Ugh.

I’m going to make a statement here that is going to sound like bragging. I apologize for that. I have worked only part time since my son Ben was born 11 years ago, so my salary has always been a supplement to my husband’s which provides a retirement package and very reasonably priced health insurance. So imagine my surprise when I got my W-2 this year and realized that I made more this past year than I have since that first year after I graduated from nursing school 14 years ago.

Here’s the worst part. I. Don’t. Know. Where. It. Went. I mean, I KNOW where it went. I’m a faithful Quicken user and have been since I was 18 and got my first Compaq computer for college. I can print out a report that tells me exactly where my money has gone.

BUT, seriously! Where did it all go? Intellectually speaking I know how to budget. I know how to plan for meals (and I do), but even after a year of listening to Dave Ramsey give the same advice to 3 hours’ worth of call-in guests, I still have not managed to get a hold on my (and my family’s) spending.

I suppose, when it comes down to it, daily prayer, consistent exercising, letting go of that second helping, and getting off of the couch are all part of the budgeting problem. They are all symptoms of a lack of discipline in our (okay my) lives.

And lumping all those other problems in with the daily prayer is kind of ridiculous, cause we all (okay I) know that prayer is the place to start. Beginning the day by asking the Lord to help us in ALL areas of our (okay my) lives is the best way to get MY spending habits under control.

I’ll let you know how that works out, especially heading into Lent.

CST #218: Prometheus and Nudging

Confirmation Sunday lasts almost 3 hours, mac drones on and on about all the stuff he’s been watching, we do full review of Prometheus, and we talk about God’s nudges in our lives.

Movies mentioned:

No Escape

The Messenger

Prometheus

TV Shows:

Revenge

The Killing

Transformers Prime

Books:

A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken

Listen to Episode #218 here or subscribe via iTunes.

CST #216: In memory of Mrs. Elaine

We talk about the passing of Katherine’s mom, Mass Confusion gets an award, the Avengers is the greatest movie ever, Tree of Life is amazing until the end, and we give our perspective on Hospice Care.

Listen to Episode #216 here, or subscribe via iTunes.

On never having used contraception…

In all this discussion lately about the HHS contraception mandate and the Catholic Church’s stance on paying for it, there have been anti-Catholic voices who have decried the Church as trying to subjugate women (again) to lives of being barefoot and pregnant for all of eternity (or at least those 20 years or so of fertile life that some women experience). Now, putting aside for the moment the fact that when you are pregnant you don’t really want to WEAR shoes, I would like to give a little insight into the life of this woman who has never been on birth control.

I take my inspiration from this post, written by Jennifer Fulweiler over at NCR.com about a new book that has come out recently, full of the voices of Catholic women unashamed of the fact that they do not, in fact, use birth control and are quite happy that way, thank you very much.

I have never used hormonal contraception. I was very much a “good girl” in high school and had a mother who, for better or worse, trusted me to not get pregnant during those tender teen years. I know that the idea of staying a virgin until marriage is, if not passe, at least considered ridiculous for us sex-crazed, unable to control ourselves, post-sexual revolution generations, but I managed (by the grace of God) to do it (or not “do it” as the case may be).

But it would be disingenuous to say that I EVER intended to use birth control. I am a Catholic convert. Mac and I still joke about the fact that on our first official date (we were friends for a long time before dating) the concept of birth control came up and I expressed that I did not intend to ever use it. My parents, though not Catholic, had done a lot of research when they were a young, married couple and decided to use natural family planning after the birth of my younger brother, their second child. And they used it successfully to avoid pregnancy for more than eight years until my youngest brother was born. Having them as an example, hearing that birth control may act as abortifacient, led me to know, even as a teenager, that I did not want to ever use hormonal birth control. Perhaps I felt the need with Mac to draw a proverbial line in the sand and see if he would have any trouble crossing it. He didn’t.

I have not learned anything about birth control in the last 20 years of my life to lead me to believe that it is anything that I want in my body. I have a mother and an aunt who have had breast cancer. I now feel that it is by the grace of God that I have never used birth control. My risk of contracting breast cancer would have been greatly increased if I had.

I don’t feel oppressed. I feel liberated to know that I am not putting anything in my body to alter my hormones in such a way as to suppress my God-given fertility. There are so many girls who start on birth control before they even know if their bodies work correctly, doing 15-20 years of damage if they begin birth control in their teens and get married late in life.

There is great joy and great freedom in the Church’s teaching on marriage and fertility. And yes, when pregnant, there’s the freedom to NOT wear shoes.

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